Apple's Tim Cook throws shade at Silicon Valley in Stanford speech

He alludes to unnamed companies as "chaos factories."

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
Oscar Gonzalez is a Texas native who covered video games, conspiracy theories, misinformation and cryptocurrency.
Expertise Video Games, Misinformation, Conspiracy Theories, Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Movies, TV, Economy, Stocks
Oscar Gonzalez
2 min read

Tim Cook this month at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference

James Martin/CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't just try to inspire Stanford University graduates with his commencement speech on Sunday. He also took a few shots at Silicon Valley.

Cook's speech called out Silicon Valley, which he says traces its roots back to Stanford, for taking credit without accepting responsibility. He brought up data breaches, privacy violations and false promises of miracles. Although the Apple CEO didn't name specific companies, he did have a term to what these businesses are producing.

"It feels a bit crazy that anyone should have to say this, but if you've built a chaos factory, you can't dodge responsibility for the chaos," Cook said. "Taking responsibility means having the courage to think things through."

He continued on about the chilling effect of digital surveillance.  

"In a world without digital privacy, even if you have done nothing wrong other than think differently, you begin to censor yourself," he said. "Not entirely at first. Just a little, bit by bit. To risk less, to hope less, to imagine less, to dare less, to create less, to try less, to talk less, to think less."

Privacy has been a focus at Apple in recent years. At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, the company revealed a new security feature called Sign In with Apple that will let users provide their Apple ID instead of an email address as a way to keep their personal information safe and prevent them from being tracked.

Some of the companies founded by Stanford graduates include Google, WhatsApp, YouTube, Intel , Netflix, Instagram, LinkedIn and Yahoo.

Apple didn't immediately reply to a request for additional comment. 

Watch this: Everything Apple announced from its WWDC 2019 keynote